RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
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RL24 with drop keel
I am thinking of buying an RL24 with a drop keel arrangement-any particular problems with this type of boat? I think the boat is a Mark 4
Everything looks OK-just not sure about the keel arrangement as most RL 24s were swing keels.
Also is there an identification plate or number anywhere on the hull to indicate year of manufacture. Sail numbers are unreliable sometimes.

Peter Brigg    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
The big advantage with the drop keel is extra pace, not really an issue in a cruising boat. The disadvantage in places like the Great Sandy Strait is that when you hit bottom, (when, not if) it hits a bit harder and it may be difficult to retract the keel if you are heeled over when you hit. For these reasons it would be better to look for a swing keel.
Mike 16-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
Iíve had a RL24 Mk4 for about 12 years and managed to cruise as far North as Townsville from Melbourne.

The RL24s are an older design with light weight that assists efficiency but limited volume for storage. Itís a compromise that does not suit some people who desire the comforts of a caravan while floating.

The factory drop keel Mk4 has a distinct advantage with the skiff rig that is very easy to sail in most winds that you are likely to wish to sail in. The lighter skiff mast makes single handed rigging easy.

The keel protruding up in the cabin while in shallow anchorages or dried out can be a bit challenging but the flat floor where the swing keel would normall y sit is a good part of the interior layout.

My RL24 had the outboard on the stern which I found silly, so I quickly changed to a new 5hp short shaft in the well which makes the helming of the yacht so safe and easy.

When I bought my RL24 12 years ago, it was on the original trailer which was stuffed. I bought a new over length tilt trailer so I could open the station wagon door and not worry about sinking the axle on shallow ramps. The biggest trap would be buying any yacht on an inadequate trailer, the RL24 weights about 1400kg with trailer so you need a trailer with a ATM plated of 1500kg or more otherwise you will struggle to be legal on the road where you need a bit of gear aboard.

A new single axle trailer custom made for the RL24 will be $4,000 to $5,500 depending on fitout.

Towing the RL24 is very easy and safe because it is reasonably light.

The RL24 Mk4 struggles to tow a dingy due to its lack of ballast, I end up reefed and motor sailing when cruising with the dingy. Without the dingy, the RL24 is a joy to sail when cruising.

I had many yearsí experience sailing before we got the RL24 Mk4, a novice skipper and crew should be ok but I would recommend joining a cruising club to cruise in company while you familiarise yourself with handling the yacht. While the yacht is technically self righting, Iíd never sail in conditions that could test that. If you want something fool proof, buy a heavier (boring) yacht. If you like fun and trust your skills and judgement, the RL24 Mk4 is worth considering.

In summary, buy the Mk4 if the trailer is good and the compromises are ok with you.

greg 18-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
I forgot to mention most factory RL24 Mk4s had sail numbers around 400 and above.

Some earlier RL24 swing keel yachts were converted to drop keel but these may be very different to a ganuine factory Mk4.

The factory Mk4s had Holme brother keels and rudders and a peelgraine mast made for North sails.

The latter RL24s including the Mk4s had the outboard crossmember 50 mm forward which leaves room to tilt the outboard in the well.
Greg 18-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
Thanks for that information-I have some more to add about this boat-according to the current owner it was ordered as an RL24 mark 3 and then converted to a drop keel boat in the factory-so it is probably a Mark 4.
The sail number is 303-it was named Calibre after the 303 rifle.
This information gets passed on from owner to owner so probably there are a few inaccuracies that creep in along the way.
Peter Brigg 18-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
The proper skiff rig does not have or need a backstay.

Sail number 303 is a bit early for things like the engine mount in the outboard well moved forward.

If the yacht has a backstay its probably not a "proper" Mk4.
Greg 18-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
303 was a boat that was built for Peter Yoemans who did a lot of the early development work that eventuly became the Mk4. From memory that boat won a National title series and carried the first fully battened mainsail(actually a Hobie Cat rig)and the keel configuration was fitted by the owner.
Peter had a series of 3 RL24s and all contributed greatly to the development of the class as a performance boat.

Rob Legg 18-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
Re previous entry. My memory had let me down, as 303 was Peter yoemans 3rd boat of four, and if you go to the RL story pages and click on to page 5 of the article by Bob Ross then Peter and his boat 303 is featured in fact all five pages make interesting reading.
Rob. Legg. 19-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
Greg 19-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
For the sake of completeness, Lorna Dee was Yeomans' first RL24 which he campaigned at Sandgate in 1979 before winning at Speers Point in 1980 using the Hobie 16 rig. This I'm not certain of (which year he ran the Hobie rig, but I do know he didn't win at Sandgate and did win at Speers Point). He then came to Lake Hume in 1980 in Street Car, still a swing keel but with a North skiff rig and won convincingly there.

It was at Lake Hume that the AGM discussed whether or not to allow drop keels and Warren Walters (Sundance) famously settled the argument with "If jokers want to put drop keels in their boats then jokers ought to be allowed to put drop keels in their boats".

The following year, Yeomans had Calibre but didn't contest the Nationals held at Glenelg in South Australia. Pegasus won that one skippered by Bruce Castles by a quarter of a point from my now RL, Warrigal. My vague recollection is that Perkins, who owned Warrigal, may have at that point installed the drop keel but I'm not certain of that. Calibre came down for the Marlay Point Overnight Race and won that.

The following year, Yeomans came to Southport with Dump Truck and again won convincingly. It was at Southport that the Mark 4 was really first in evidence with Sequoia (Rob Legg's boat 401), Lowana 5 (Dad's boat 402), Dump Truck (404), Radical Lady (Jack Lucas, 415), and maybe Treasure Island (Mike Stephens 505). Also at that championship at least one boat had converted from a swing to a drop keel (Ohau Rua, Jack Walsh, 199).

Hopefully Rob can elaborate as to the differences between Calibre and Dump Truck. Seemingly Dump Truck was built lighter as was Lowana 5?
James Shannon 20-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
I wish that my memory of those events was as good as yours as they were exciting years, and yes "Dump truck" and "Lowana5" were built with a Kevlar laminate and a foam core to save a few kg, but I feel that small saving never did give the advantage intended, and in the end it is the skill of the helmsman and the attention to detail that comes out on top in the end.
Rob Legg 22-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 with drop keel
Was Dump Truck kevlar? Lowana V certainly wasn't. I think the theory with Lowana V was that fibreglass had improved to the point where less was needed and it was built to minimum weight. It was the following year that the kevlar Lowana VI was launched and competed at Port Stephens and two years later in Brighton Seacliff in Adelaide we got Radical Lady II and Liaison, then the following year in Gladstone there were Wings, Pipe Dream, and F Troop.

My wife wishes I could remember to do what she asked of me two minutes ago!!

There was an occasion, though, where I recall the kevlar boats really came into their own. It was a Nationals at Lake Wellington and the wind came in really strong from the East creating a short sharp chop, even worse than usual there. It must have been 1989. Wings, now skippered by Craig Rainey, won the series but Ken Hackett in Sasha (converted Mark 1) was never far away and certainly well ahead of us in Lowana VI and F Troop. Bruce Castles in Pegasus (also a converted Mark 1), was up there as well and both those crews were significantly heavier than us. On this particular day, however, in the short steep chop, the Mark 1 boats simply couldn't stay with the kevlar boats upwind. It was over 30kn and Wings Chinese gybed leaving us ahead rounding the final mark. Typically, the race committee chose that point to abandon the race and Dad's first heat win at a Nationals had to wait yet another year! But there was absolutely no question that in those conditions the kevlar boats had a significant advantage with their stiffness.

But I think that was the exception that created the rule. The fact that that particular day sits so strong in my memory says to me that the advantages are so slim as to be insignificant, as evidenced by the long string of dominance by Ohau Rua and to a lesser extent, Sasha.
James Shannon 22-Jul-2014    Edit    Delete 

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